Srinagar, Apr 05: Saying that tourism holds the promise to turnaround the economy of Kashmir Valley, PDP President and Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today said her Government intends to promote Srinagar in a big way by making it a tourist destination in itself.
Addressing the workers meetings of Hazratbal and Sonwar constituencies here today, Mehbooba Mufti said her Government has decided to improve and upgrade all the tourist related facilities in the summer capital thereby enhancing its tourist absorption capacity and make it an independent tourist destination. She said the place is known for its rich cultural heritage, gardens, world famous handicrafts, scenic spots and water bodies which once promoted properly would be able to attract a large but spending tourist population. This, consequentially, would give a boost to the handicrafts and cottage industry for which the city is known world over, she said.
Working on this line, the Chief Minister said more than Rs. 100 crore were expended during last financial year on various tourist developments works in Srinagar like developing paragliding facilities, adventure sports, parking and other tourist facilitation works etc. and much more would be done in coming times. She said an independent Dargah Hazratbal beautification project costing Rs. 45 crore was launched by her last December which would improve the facilities at the shrine complex besides developing the catchment areas.
Mehbooba Mufti said she has categorically instructed the concerned authorities that while developing tourism the benefits and requirements of local people should be prioritized. She said she has even asked chairman of National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. which is constructing many of the roads in the valley to recruit local youth only and if need be train them before engaging. “This is to ensure that local youth get the benefits of any development activity we undertake”, she told the workers.
Mehbooba Mufti said youth engagement remains to be the Party’s top agenda because PDP believes that youth are an asset and future of the State.
Chief Spokesperson, Dr. Mehboob Baig in his address criticized the National Conference and its leaders for changing political stands in and out of power. He said PDP entered into alliance with Congress in 2002 and BJP in 2015 on the basis of certain agreements but the National Conference joined BJP at the Centre only for securing entry of Omar Abdullah into union council of Ministers. He said the Party’s leadership has lost touch with the feelings and aspirations of the people of the State.
Senior Party leader and Minister of State for Health & Medical Education, Asiea Naqash; MLA, Sonwar, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and other Party functionaries also addressed the meetings.